The Influence That Hsi Yu Chi

1600 words - 6 pages

Have you seen Alakazam? It's a direct adaption of Hsi Yu Chi. Of course, it's been simplified a great deal since it is directed toward young children, but it shows how much Hsi Yu Chi influences today's media. And what about Dragonball? Have you seen that? The character Son Goku could be a direct descendant of Sun Wu Kung! They both use the same sort of weapon, they are both well known for flying on clouds, and to top it off, they have the same name (except that Goku's is in Japanese, but they mean the same thing)! In the Fifth Century AD, a Chinese Buddhist priest named Hsuan Tsang made a journey to India. After his journey, he wrote about his travels, the people he had met and the differences he observed from kingdom to kingdom. His book was called 'Hsi Yu Chi' (The Record of a Journey To The West). Little did the Tang Dynasty Monk realize that his book would father one of the most well known works of Chinese literature. Eleven centuries later, another edition of 'His Yu Chi' was written. When it was released, the new 'Hsi Yu Chi' was considered as a disgrace to the community of writers. This ludicrous work which lacked philosophical depth and profundity was not only a satire of the Chinese Imperial System and Chinese bureaucracy, but it was an insult to the two most dominant religions at the time, Buddhism and Taoism. The writer had taken the text 'Hsi Yu Chi' and turned it into what was considered at the time, utter nonsense.No wonder it was released anonymously.Until very recently, an unabridged edition of 'Hsi Yu Chi' has not been available to Western Readers. Professor Yu has done a marvelous job translating the long book (one hundred chapters). The Journey To The West (which is want I will refer to it as from now on) portrays the world as one which is inhabited by demons, monsters, dragons, fairies, magic and various deities from Chinese Mythology and pushes the real hero of The Journey Hsuan Tsang into a corner and introduces a new hero, a monkey named Sun Wu K'ung, who is a disciple of the Tang Monk. Hsuan Tsangs other disciples are Chu Wu Neng, who is pig-man and Sha Wu Ching who is a water demon.Most scholars agree that The Journey To The West can be divided into these four systematic parts. (In chronological order,) one, the birth of the Sun Wu K'ung, his attainment of magical abilities, his crimes in Heaven and his subdual by Tathagata Buddha. Two, Hsuan Tsang's family background, his birth and his commitment in Journeying to India to obtain Buddhist Scriptures. Three, the actual journey, where Hsuan Tsang adopts first Wu K'ung as a disciple, then adopts the other two later on. This third part is the longest in the book and is full of episodes where the pilgrims encounter people harassed by demons and then practicing exorcism to subdue the demons. Four, the arrival to Tathagata's monastery in India, the obtaining of Buddhist Scriptures and the promoting of the pilgrims.When one takes a first glance at the book, it seems to be a text...

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